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Health message with a difference – why a takeaway could save lives

London Fire Brigade targets drinking and cooking in Christmas fire safety campaign
  • @kevinJrawlinson

Christmas partygoers are being urged to get a takeaway on their way home, rather than trying out their drunken culinary skills, on the orders of the London Fire Brigade.

More than a quarter of house fires in the capital are caused by "young professionals", many of whom try to emulate Jamie Oliver's cooking skills while drunk.

This Friday is expected to be the busiest for Christmas parties, prompting the fire service to try to get the message out to "young, well-educated, professionals" between the ages of 18 and 35. London Fire Brigade Commissioner, Ron Dobson, said: "Our message is simple, if you've had too much to drink, don't go home thinking you're a contestant on MasterChef."

A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade added: "It is not about saying have a burger for every meal. But a lot of people will be tempted to come in from the office Christmas party and start cooking a frozen pizza or some chips, then fall asleep. We are saying maybe it would be best to get a takeaway instead."

He added: "If you have been drinking for six or seven hours, you are likely to get hungry on the way home. If that is the case, then think about it and get something on your way back and not potentially leave the hob on."

Statistics show that 18 to 35-year-olds were involved in more than 25 per cent of the 18,000 accidental house fires which took place over the past three years in London. Around 60 per cent of house fires begin in the kitchen.

A spokesman for Drink Aware said there was a "strong link between drinking alcohol and being injured in a fire", adding that around one in three fires are caused by people under the influence of alcohol and, of the 270 people who died in household fires in 2007/08, around a third had been drinking.

Chris Sorek, the charity's chief executive said: "Christmas is an exciting time and a great opportunity to celebrate. There's often pressure to have fun at the office party and sometimes this means we drink more than we intend. By following simple tips such as eating a meal before drinking, alternating alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or water, and avoid over-pouring, you can ensure this holiday season is one to remember."

The London Fire Brigade has placed adverts in 10 of the major London Underground stations, hoping that people will spot them while they are travelling home at night.

A spokesman said adverts have also been placed on social media sites. The adverts bear the slogans "Last Night a Burger Saved My Life!" and "Fire Safety Equipment" over a picture of a burger.